I sat with my knees to my chest, shaking like a leaf. What the hell just happened? My cheek is red and hurts when I touch it and still throbs when I don’t. It was just a slap. It had never happened before and he seemed completely stunned by what he had done. I shake my head to dissolve my thoughts. No. I had just gotten all high-and-mighty on my mum for staying with a man that punched her. I can’t do the same thing. Was Jamie turning into his dad? Was this just the beginning? If I stayed with him, was I going to end up in the hospital like his mum? Deep down, I have always been afraid of Jamie. I’ve always been worried about pushing the wrong buttons and causing him to flip out. I had pushed those buttons tonight. My shaking hand covers my mouth to stifle my quaking sobs. Could I leave him? Could I really leave him? He had a hold over me, there was no denying that. And he only lived a floor away. And I see him nearly ever day in lectures. My stomach churns when I come to the realisation that I will never be rid of Jamie. He will always be there. I was like a fly stuck in his web. He had me and he will only let go when he’s finished with me.
I must have worked myself up to a state of total exhaustion because I awoke from slumber. My arms stretch over my head but they quickly recoil when the events of last night hit me like a brick wall. I flinch when I pass my roommate in the living area.
“Whoa, are you okay, Nora?” he asks, holding my elbow and looking into my eyes.
“Yeah, Ben, I’m fine.” I show him a smile and he drops his hand. That’s when I take him in fully. Dark circles hang heavy under his eyes and he walks to the counter with a dizzy sway. “You look rough though.”
“That doesn’t surprise me,” he laughs and opens the fridge, only to close it again. “I’ve just got in. One helluva night.”
“You’re telling me,” I mutter under my breath. I quickly snatch a breakfast bar from the cupboard and make my way back to my room.
“I’m going bed soon and will probably be out for most of the day so no wild parties in your room, okay?” He smiles lazily when I turn round.
“I promise.” I smile back and go back to my room.
I try to get my head down and work but the words just jumble into a black and white mess. My jaw clenches and I swipe the piles of paper off my desk in a fit of fury. What the fuck have I gotten myself into? My fingers run through my hair and I shake my head. I pull open my draw and take out small plastic bag of pills. This was when it all went wrong. If I hadn’t been stupid enough to ask him for the pills, he would have never noticed me and I would have blended into the background, undisturbed. Sure, I enjoyed being in the spotlight and it did give me an odd rush of power. But what price does that come with? Being beaten up by my boyfriend? No thank you.
I snap the bag open and pour two on the pills onto my open palm. What am I doing? This isn’t going to solve anything. Your boyfriends just slapped you? Pop some pills. My hand curls up into a fist, breaking the pills in my palm. He’s in my head. He’s always been in my head.
I jump at the sound of a large bang, making me throw the contents of the little bag into the air. The small white pills scatter over my desk as heavy footsteps sound outside my door, getting closer. Suddenly, the door swings open and I jump to my feet at the sight of Jamie. He stands, broad in my doorway, blocking out the light from the corridor. His glistening blue eyes are set on me and a crude smile lifts on his lips. He steps in and shuts the door behind him.
“Did you really think I was going to let you run out on me like that?” His head tilts, mocking me.
I step back as he steps forwards.
“Jamie, I’m sorry about what happened last night,” I reply, trying to stay collected but my knees are shaking so much I think I’m going to collapse.
His eyes narrow at me. “I own you, Nora. When are you going to understand that? You’re mine. Do you know what that means?”
I don’t answer.
“It means you can’t fucking run away when I’m not finished with you!”
His booming voice makes me feel like I’ve shattered like broken glass. I press my back against the back wall and he stands in the centre of my room with his hands balled to fists by his side.
“Y-you hit me, Jamie.”
“I know I did because you fucking hit me first!”
He lets out a frustrated breath and shakes his head.
“First, you leave me when I tell you about my past. Then you hit me and walk out the door. What happened, Nora? Am I not good enough for you anymore? Did the buzz of being my girl wear off?”
“No.” I shake my head vigorously. “I’m glad you opened up to me, Jamie. I’m just scared.”
“Scared?” He edges closer. “Scared of what? Me?”
“I’m scared of what you might turn into.”
His eyes narrow. “And what is that exactly?”
I gulp but it gets stuck in my throat. “Your father.”
His eyes widen and his jaw locks. That’s it. I’m done for. His whole body starts vibrating as if he’s ready to explode like a volcano. In one swift move, his hand whips behind his back and then I’m staring down the barrel of a gun. I cower back but I have no where to go. He lifts the gun so it’s pointing to my forehead.
“What did you just say?” he seethes.